Kelechi Iheanacho has all the attributes to become a great striker, says Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Iheanacho, who joined the Premier League giants after helping Nigeria win the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, has been in stunning form this season for the Citizens. The 19-year-old scored his first career hat-trick in their 4-0 FA Cup defeat of Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday.
The forward, who made his international debut in a 2018 World Cup qualifier against Swaziland in November 2015, has scored eight goals in 16 appearances for Man City.
Pellegrini has praised the UAE 2013 Golden Boot winner’s development since he promoted the young player to the first team at the beginning of the season, saying the Nigeria attacker has great future in football.
“He’s a very good young player. That’s why we kept him in the squad this season and that’s why we didn’t replace Jovetic and Edin Dzeko because I see him working every day and I know how important he can be,” the Chilean was quoted as saying on the club’s official website on Sunday.
The 62-year-old former Real Madrid boss commended Iheanacho’s work ethic, saying he had no regrets keeping faith with the player.
“I see him working every day so I know what he can do,” the Daily Mail quoted the Chilean as saying.
“Maybe I received some criticism why we didn’t replace (Stevan) Jovetic and (Edin) Dzeko and I answered we had Kelechi.”
Iheanacho expressed his delight at scoring three goals in Saturday’s encounter. But he admits he still has a lot to prove, insisting he is not out to send Argentina star Sergio Aguero out of the first team.
Manchester Evening News quoted the youngster as saying, “I won’t be kicking Sergio Aguero out of the team just yet!”
“I am happy to play together with Sergio and hope I can do it for many more years at City.”